OTTAWA – Jason Spezza’s appreciation of the shootout is better some days than others. Saturday was not one of the days he’s a fan.
“When you win them, they’re fine,” the Senators centre said after Ottawa fell 2-1 in shootout to the New York Rangers before a crowd of 17,561 at Scotiabank Place. The defeat dropped the Senators’ record to 1-2 on the season and 12-25 all-time in the shootout format, the worst mark in the NHL since its introduction.
“We played a pretty good hockey game,” Spezza said. “It’s frustrating to not get the two points.”
One day after being recalled from Hartford of the AHL, P.A. Parenteau scored the deciding goal in the seventh round of shootout after Ales Kotalik and Vinny Prospal were successful in their attempts for New York and Daniel Alfredsson and Spezza made good on theirs.
However, with Milan Michalek needing to score to extend the shootout, he shot high over Henrik Lundqvist in the Rangers’ net.
“We had four chances in the shootout,” Alfredsson said. “It’s a bit frustrating that we didn’t win this game.”
The Senators outshot the Rangers 36-28 in regulation, but could only manage a goal from Brian Lee.
Ottawa’s power play went 0-for-5 and the Senators (8-6-3) are now winless in back-to-back games and three of the last four with their only victory in that span coming in shootout Tuesday night against Edmonton.
“I think we’ve been playing pretty good,” Alfredsson said. “We’re not finding ways to win.
“We’ve got to keep pushing. We’re playing good enough to win games, but we’re not getting what we need.”
Particularly in shootout. By comparison, New York improved to 35-24 in shootout all-time after winning in the format in its first try this season.
Prospal, with a short-handed marker, scored for the Rangers (11-8-1) in regulation time and Lundqvist made 35 saves, including 16 in the second period.
“With some of the injuries we have with our club, we need Hank to play that way,” said Rangers coach John Tortorella, who is without his two of his top players in centres Chris Drury (concussion) and Brandon Dubinsky (broken hand).
New York stopped a two-game losing slide.
The teams met in Ottawa’s opening game of the season at Madison Square Garden and the Rangers emerged with a 5-2 victory.
It was a much closer affair this time around.
Former Rocket Richard Trophy winner Jonathan Cheechoo, who came into the contest with just one goal through the first 16 games of the season, had the best chance of the first period when he broke in alone on Lundqvist. Cheechoo didn’t even record a shot on net, however, as he fired the puck high and off the glass in behind.
It remained scoreless until Lee took a pass in the slot from Jarkko Ruutu and slapped a shot past the Rangers’ goaltender 4 ½ minutes into the second period.
New York found itself on its heels and went almost nine minutes of the middle frame before even registering a shot against Elliott.
However, Gaborik took advantage of a mistimed pinch at the Rangers’ blue-line by Senators defenceman Chris Campoli during an Ottawa power play and set up Prospal on a 2-on-1 break to tie the game.
Both teams had chances to win it in regulation in the third period with the Rangers coming closest on a late power-play chance, but Brian Elliott, who finished with 27 saves in his first start in six games, was bailed out by his post on a shot by Christopher Higgins before Parenteau missed an open net.
The Senators also had a good opportunity to win it in overtime with a late power play, but the Rangers’ penalty-killing unit came up with a big kill.
“We had lots of chances. Their goaltender was their best penalty-killer,” Spezza said.
Parenteau, a 26-year-old native of nearby Gatineau, Que., was playing in just his third game of the season and ninth of his NHL career.
He made up for his late close call in regulation time by beating Elliott to decide the outcome.
“I was pretty good in the minors in the shootout, so I got the call and saw an opening and just kind of took it. It was a big goal,” he said. “I’m pretty happy right now.”
Notes: The Senators were without Anton Volchenkov (elbow) for the seventh game in a row. The Russian defenceman could return as early as next Saturday against the Buffalo Sabres. a Ottawa plays host to the Toronto Maple Leafs on Tuesday. a Prospal’s short-handed goal was New York’s third on the season. The Senators lead the NHL with four. a The Rangers return home to face Washington on Tuesday.